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Bronx Science Math Department woes in Daily News

January 8, 2009 pm31 5:27 pm

Today’s Daily News reports on the ongoing problems with an abusive administrator at the Bronx High School of Science. Last month I added Bronx Science to the Do Not Apply list, and last week I published the math teachers’ collective special complaint against the assistant principal from last Spring.

This is the Daily News article, in its entirety:

New administrator blamed for faculty revolt at Bronx High School of Science

Thursday, January 8th 2009, 3:47 AM

A faculty revolt over working conditions is rocking the storied Bronx High School of Science, causing teachers to leave the elite public school.

Math teachers in particular blame a new administrator – Assistant Principal Rosemarie Jahoda – for verbal abuse, claiming they are admonished in front of students and have had their jobs threatened.

The percentage of teachers who had stayed at the school for more than two years had dropped to 66% in 2007 from 80% the year before.

“The worst she’s done is that we’ve lost faculty,” said a tenured teacher, who like all of the teachers interviewed asked that their names not be used for fear of retaliation.

“It’s gone beyond just being an unpleasant place to work.”

Six teachers who were in the math department in 2007 when Jahoda arrived will have left by the end of the month.

Five cite Jahoda as the main reason.

After 20 of the 22 math faculty signed a harassment complaint last May, teachers say they were punished.

Four out of five signers received unsatisfactory evaluations for the first time, teachers said.

Jahoda did not want to comment. Principal Valerie Reidy dismissed the complaints as unsubstantiated “griping.”

“The chancellor has asked us to be very strenuous in our evaluation of teaching,” Reidy said.

“We have very, very high standards. We evaluate and hold teachers accountable.”

Teachers say Reidy cut two faculty members from the math department this year and cut its budget by 4% when the school’s budget rose by 6%.

Reidy says she was properly reallocating resources and that she has enhanced the department’s course offerings.

The teachers’ union representative for Bronx high schools says the atmosphere in the math department is worse than ever.

“I have never seen an entire department so unified in their complaint against a specific supervisor,” said Lynne Wynderbaum.

“Any time you force good teachers to leave, the students are being hurt.”

19 Comments leave one →
  1. melvin Band permalink
    January 9, 2009 am31 2:13 am 2:13 am

    I would like to give the Bronx Science teachers the same advice that I gave the teachers at my alma mater, Brooklyn Tech , back in 2004. You secretly audio tape this piece of administrative vermin. This is New York which unlike Linda Tripp”s Maryland, have the perfect right to do so provided that you are a party to the conversation. You have the right to deny(lie) that you are taping because the vermin is not a federal agent nor are you under oath. You,unlike the students have a right to carry a tape (4th Amendment. As I told Schools Chan. Joel Klein, on April 19,2004 at his monthly edu. panel meeting,”No one wants to see his picture and hear his voice on prime time violating people’s rights.” Under the Freedom of Information law you can get my full text. The question is do your teachers have the guts to use the tape and then go as a group to the main stream media and then to the cable stations- Fox News and CNN. They love the bizaare. An assistant principal yelling and screaming would make their day. GOOD LUCK.

  2. Johanna permalink
    January 10, 2009 am31 7:14 am 7:14 am

    our school is messed up. first the principal, now the assistant principal. the math teachers are actually good teachers and id hate to see them leave, especially Mr.Lamphere!!

  3. BronxScienceKid permalink
    January 10, 2009 am31 9:06 am 9:06 am

    Mr. Lamphere is leaving? what?! why?! he’s so nice!

  4. Student permalink
    January 10, 2009 pm31 11:00 pm 11:00 pm

    They are all really nice, honestly, both Jahoda and Reidy deserve to go. As a Bxscience student, I’m asking why aren’t disciplinary actions being taken against them?

  5. January 10, 2009 pm31 11:14 pm 11:14 pm

    The teachers have the right to challenge unfair treatment, and specifically violations of the contract, but I do not know if there is a way to seek the ouster of the abusive administrators as a remedy for the current conditions. There should be though, right?

  6. Anonymous permalink
    January 11, 2009 am31 12:40 am 12:40 am

    I advise anyone who is considering bronx science to not apply to this school. As a bronx science senior i am deeply dissapointed as i watch Ms.Reidy ruin this school. Mr.Fox was the best math teacher in the department. Prior to the release of this article hes been unexplainably missing. Furthermore Ms.Reidy has fired some of the best teachers the school had and replaced them with lossers. Our new guidance couselors, in particular Ms.Sypher, are unable to provide us with any helpful information through the college process leaving you most often finding answers on your own. A school with such legacy should be able to provide its students with employment opportunities or internships. In comparison to Stuyvesant, Bronx Science completly fails.

  7. Winston Smith permalink
    January 11, 2009 am31 3:23 am 3:23 am

    The Ministry of Truth lies…
    Wall St. = West 205th St.
    Big Sister Is Watching…

  8. fxckreidy permalink
    January 11, 2009 am31 3:35 am 3:35 am


  9. Anonymous permalink
    January 19, 2009 pm31 10:28 pm 10:28 pm

    I do not see what’s wrong with Ms. Sypher. She is my counselor and she is always nice and lenient with the deadlines. She maybe a little inexperienced since she’s new but when i ask her something about college she doesn’t immediately know, she takes the time to research it for me and provide helpful answers later.From what i heard, she is one of the best counselors compared to other strict ones who give students a hard time.

  10. anonymous permalink
    January 21, 2009 am31 4:54 am 4:54 am

    Bronx Science is a nasty place. It is intense and unfriendly beyond belief. With many administrators the philosophy is it is their way or the high way. The guidance department is the worst. Ms. Chang implies retaliation agiainst you child if you challenge anything. Ms. Reidy upholds any and every nasty administrator no matter what. The school prefers parents leave them alone and just show up at graduation (and send a check to the PA). Honestly it is shocking that a school that educates many very talented and easy to teach students can be SO unbelievably nasty. It is sadly not a nice place for an adolescent to spend high school years.

  11. Anonymous permalink
    January 26, 2009 am31 12:36 am 12:36 am

    Ms Chang is the nastiest person working for Bronx Science. She is mean, vindictive and outright offensive. She has told students who have had trouble changing their schedule that they might be too incompetent for the class they would like to change to. This is of course because she was either too lazy to help them change it or too enamored with her gucci shoes to care.

  12. Anonymous permalink
    January 26, 2009 am31 12:39 am 12:39 am

    the problem with ms. sypher is if she is new and under qualified there is no reason she should be working at a prestigious school such as bronx science. maybe she should do her training somewhere else where college admissions is not held up to such importance

  13. Anonymous permalink
    January 27, 2009 pm31 11:45 pm 11:45 pm

    anonymous-january 27, 2009
    My child is a graduate of Bronx Science. I must say that our lives are so much better now that our family is not involved with this school. What a wonderful potential this school has. Dont get me wrong- lots of good stuff happens- but that is despite of the administration. I have never heard so many teachers and parents and students complain so much about the administration and this has been going on for years. I have sat on many committees , many meetings, spoken to many many teachers and not one has said what a wonderful environment it is. All i heard is how abused these teachers felt, or they tried to ignore the situation. The problem is that this administration – in my opinion- came from abusive house holds and never worked out their issues. Yelling at people, lying to people, lying to kids, parents and all, with not a second thought , and having the power to really hurt someone and use that power to do so just to get your way , is only a sign of abused people themselves. To use deception to get your way-and be an administrator at a school with children-is only a sign of your own lack of character. With all that has been said about the principle, and this Ms. Chang-who came to us with no experience in a high school setting- and the request from the principle to come to her privately if you have an issue-and seeing all that is written about one self and not show to your school that you are doing something about it only shows you how little these people are. You are right about Ms. Chang’s shoes and not to mention the short skirts- I have seen our students get reprimanded about short skirts and here the head guidance person is wearing one herself. How rude is that- I dont have issue with a short skirt- I have issues with lies, administrators not knowing the rules, lying to parents as a scare tactic,and flying off the handle. NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO YELL AT ANYONE _ ANYTIME ANYWHERE. As i said – the day my kid graduated was my happiest day. and i felt so guilty for sending my child there and having my child abused by these people. My child has been abused at Bronx Science- The good part about it – is now they know what that is like- and I hope to teach them that THIS IS NOT ALLOWED. I do not know of one child that has left unaffected by the demoralization that takes place there. AND yet it continues and the kids and the teachers are often blamed. Administrators do not take responsibility for what happens at the school – it is always the fault of the kid or some one else. NEVER has Valerie said or intimated that maybe the climate has to do with the way her administration is ruling and being ruled by her. NEVER. IT IS NEVER HER RESPONSIBILITY. because that is not a concept she understands on the emotional level.

  14. Anonymous Jr. permalink
    February 4, 2009 am28 8:09 am 8:09 am

    Being a student at Bronx Science, I was oblivious to all of this until the news was spread like wildfire. I personally have had a bad experience with Ms. Chang, and I’ve heard many bad remarks about Ms. Jahoda, as well as Ms. Reidy. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to be totally biased–I have friends who have Ms. Jahoda as a teacher who say she is a kind teacher, but strict. Perhaps she is, but the keywords are “as a teacher”. After reading the complaint filed by the teachers, I could almost feel what they had gone through. If it was only one teacher complaining about Ms. Jahoda, then I wouldn’t have given it as much thought as I am now, but the situation has escalated to the point in which nearly the entire department is complaining about her. That can’t be very biased now, can it?
    Ms. Chang, who I absolutely no doubtingly despise, is a rude…gee, she’s even beyond rude. I got into trouble my freshmen year a couple of times that landed me into the deans office and I had to attend a meeting with my counselor, a dean, and unfortunately, Ms. Chang. Being a freshmen, I wasn’t accustomed to the high school settings, so my guidance counselor and the dean went easy on me and gave me a second chance. But that was after Ms. Chang scolded me with a threatening hostile tone, and even so much threatened to phone child services on my mother because I came to school late a bit too much. Obviously, it was my fault for coming late and getting into trouble, and I sincerely apologize to my mother for that, but that gives Ms. Chang no right to be threatening my mother. I would love to post a whole thesaurus of curses and what not about her, but that wouldn’t help my reasoning. As to what one of the posters said about her and her Gucci shoes, you are so very true. Lady, you can be fashionable all you want, but you work in a school, you’re not walking down the catwalk.
    Along with the Ms. Jahoda situation, Ms. Reidy has also been accused of mistreating teachers and firing many teachers that students have acknowledged to be some of the best around. I’m not one to judge, but even her face has a hint of over aggressiveness on it. The only matter in which I think I’d support her on is the matter of the cutting policy. The students have been trying to reach a cutting policy with the administration, but it has always been denied. I wouldn’t argue against that because Bronx Science is deemed one of the best high schools in the whole US. The reason we don’t have a cutting policy is because the administration hopes we don’t cut. After all, we ARE a top notch high school.
    There was a rumor going around last year about a English teacher who was fired because she was showing a film in class, and Ms. Reidy frowned upon it. This somewhat fueled the student walkout last year, along with countless other complaints against Ms. Reidy.
    I haven’t actually seen Ms. Jahoda yet, although I’ve seen a lady walk around who resembles my image of her, and she seems awfully a lot like Ms. Reidy. But on a serious note, I absolutely support the math teachers in doing this. I believe it’s time for a higher authority to take action now, before another case of mistreatment of teachers by a administrator arises. The teachers have already made their case..the question is: Will the BOE/DOE listen?

  15. Student of Class of 2011 permalink
    July 1, 2009 am31 1:23 am 1:23 am

    lol at the Orwell reference
    I wish I could go to a school that didn’t have such a hostile environment, I’m solely talking about administrators here.
    I cannot wait to graduate, I honestly wish I had done better on that test so I could have gotten into stuy. Although I do not totally regret it because of all the students and teachers I’ve gotten to know through this school. That’s probably the best part about the school THE PEOPLE IN THE CLASSROOM. They are the ones who make it special.
    Ms. Chang is definitely the nastiest AP in the school. She likes to let you know that she’s in charge with her outrageous threats. One of my friends was threatened with suspension for doodling a penis. My friend received two weeks of detention after a Dean notified my friends mother and shower her the doodle.
    Every time my friend tried to ask them what was so wrong with it and which rule my friend broke they would tell my friend to stop getting an attitude and if my friend continued being “insubordinate” my friend would be suspended.
    How is that in anyway fair?

    This is a school in which administrators maintain their authority through fear and threats as opposed to respect.

  16. Kevin Barry permalink
    June 8, 2012 am30 9:26 am 9:26 am

    I’m sure many people reading this about Shun Fang Chang may be thinking, “Sure, she seems rude, but that’s just tough love.” I would like to assure these readers that this is not the case. The Bronx Science Agenda – and her Agenda – is to get rid of kids who are in any way troubled by demoralizing and humiliating them until the voluntarily leave the school. She repeatedly lied about the availability of summer school classes to a student who missed classes due to diagnosed clinical depression, is verbally abusive, and tells students with emotional problems that there is no way they can possibly be up to the standards of Bronx Science.

    I say this not for myself (I never had issues in school) but for other students who’ve been hurt by Ms. Chang.


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